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Lives Too Short - The State of Men’s Health

Weight and activity


Forecasts show that, by 2020, 80% of men will be overweight or obese. (17)

Just 40% of men meet the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations for physical activity.

Activity levels fall sharply with age. About 50% of men aged 16-34 say they meet the recommendations but the levels decline to 44% for 35-44 year olds, 32% for 55-64 year olds and 9% for men aged 75 or over. (18)

In England and Wales, one million more men aged 35-64 years need to be more active for the same proportion of this age group to be as active as younger men.

Drinking and smoking

33% of men and 16% of women are drinking at a potentially harmful level. This includes the 6% of men and 2% of women estimated to be harmful drinkers, which means that damage to health is likely.

Between 1992 and 2008, alcohol-related death rates in men more than doubled, rising from 8.2 per 100,000 to 16.7 per 100,000. (19)

Men are more likely to smoke than women - 22% compared with 19%. 16% of men in non-manual work smoke compared with 27% in manual work. (20)

More information

The MHF’s policy paper Hazardous Waist: Tackling the epidemic of excess weight in men (2005) focused on the increasing levels of obesity and weight problems in men and how understanding gender differences is important in tacking them.

In National Men’s Health Week 2010, MHF launched the One Million More Men Challenge. This aims to get one million men aged 35-64 more physically active.

There is information on all these issues on malehealth, the MHF's health information site for men of all ages including weight-loss, exercise, smoking and drinking. There is also an excellent section on understanding health statistics.

More from Lives Too Short - The State of Men's Health

Dying young

Men and health services

Mental health

Heart disease and cancer


Page created on November 3rd, 2010

Page updated on November 3rd, 2010